It's refreshing in this world of nervous, reactive NFL front offices to see a team operate as fearlessly and successfully as the Denver Broncos have with John Elway as general manager.
Watching projected starting quarterback Brock Osweiler leave for the Houston Texans on the first day of free agency Wednesday was the latest headline-grabbing development reflecting the security Elway enjoys as a Broncos legend with Super Bowl rings on his fingers. It should come as no surprise the Broncos refused to keep their projected starting quarterback at all costs.
Elway cast aside Tim Tebow amid an outcry. Elway fired coach John Fox following four consecutive AFC West titles. Elway forced Peyton Manning into an awkward contract renegotiation, one of several moves informing Manning he was about to live life on the team's terms. Every one of these moves seemed risky from a public-relations standpoint. Every one worked out well for the organization.
The Broncos' decision to bench Osweiler for the playoffs complicated their negotiations with him, but in the end, Denver simply wasn't willing to pay keep-him-off-the-market money for a quarterback who had not played especially well when given an opportunity to start. Denver could be taking less risk than the Texans are taking even though most would regard the Broncos' situation -- no starter on the roster! -- as the ultimate NFL horror.
Osweiler finished the 2015 season with an 86.4 passer rating (25th) and a 59.6 Total QBR score (24th). Texans starter Brian Hoyer was actually better in both categories, but because he bombed in the playoffs against Kansas City, keeping him in place as the starter became politically untenable for Texans leadership. The Texans previously passed up two chances to draft Derek Carr, purportedly because David Carr's struggles as a Texan made selecting Derek Carr politically untenable. Houston previously replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick with Hoyer, a lateral move at best.